GVSU to offer certificate in hospice, palliative care

Grand Valley will offer an interprofessional certificate in hospice and palliative care. An information session is set for August 11 at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.
Grand Valley will offer an interprofessional certificate in hospice and palliative care. An information session is set for August 11 at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.

Grand Valley will offer a new interprofessional certificate in palliative and hospice care that meets a growing need in West Michigan. Classes will begin in September.

Organizers said the four-course certificate is designed for professionals who work with patients who are facing terminal illnesses, or graduate students interested in that field.

“There is a definite need in our community for professionals prepared at advanced levels in palliative and hospice care," said Tammy Kroll, clinical administrator with TANDEM365. "The interprofessional approach of this certificate offers a unique advantage for the professionals and organizations committed to delivering person-centered, family-oriented care.” 

The interprofessional certificate program is a collaborative effort by Grand Valley’s Kirkhof College of Nursing, School of Social Work, and School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration along with West Michigan leaders in hospice and palliative care. It is coordinated through the Bonnie Wesorick Center for Health Care Transformation within the Kirkhof College of Nursing.

•• An information session hosted by the interprofessional certificate teaching and advising team will be held at Grand Valley's Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, 301 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids on Tuesday, August 11, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in room 340.

"This four-course interprofessional certificate is designed for post-baccalaureate professionals and graduate students interested in the field. This includes nurses, social workers, physicians, physical therapists, physician assistants, members of the clergy and others working with patients and families facing life-limiting health conditions, terminal illness and death," said Karen Burritt, interim associate dean for graduate programs at the Kirkhof College of Nursing.

The certificate program is offered in a combination of online and in-seat classes and includes coursework in palliative and hospice care, pain/symptom management, death and grief, and an elective in pharmacology, social work or health care systems.

“This certificate offers an added level of study of the multidisciplinary perspective and scope of practice within palliative care,” said Dr. Robert Johnson, member of the faculty teaching team. “Students will explore their own perceptions about palliative care while examining communication techniques, ethical reasoning and patient centered goals.” 

Developers of the certificate, including Ruthann Brintnall, retired associate professor of nursing, said the need for better palliative care education in West Michigan follows a national trend. Brintnall added the program was developed “in response to expressed community need for advanced education leading to optimized outcomes for patients receiving palliative and hospice care.”

According to a 2014 report from the Institute of Medicine, "Dying in America," many people in rural or underserved areas do not have access to experts in palliative care. The report acknowledged person-centered, family-oriented care should be a priority.

For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/phc, or contact Linda Buck at buckli@gvsu.edu or (616) 331-7160.